New Trek movie excellent addition to the Star Wars saga

Went to see the new Star Trek movie with low expectations. The previous movies in the saga had been, well, bad, and it has rarely translated well on the big screen. This time, all new cast and directors - could be bad, could be good.

The movie is good. It's really quite good.

The problem is - it's not Star Trek. Or at least it's not my Star Trek.

(May be spoilers here.)

After the movie, I sat there, in the half-empty theatre, watching people flow out. Feeling quite empty. Yeah, I had laughed, I was excited, but you know, it was as if I had seen something else than a Trek movie. A nice sci-fi flick, with planets exploding, gigantic war machines with a vengeance-driven ruler. Cute aliens. No technobabble. A triangle drama between the hansom but loner captain, a cool but uncertain man, who does not quite know where he belongs, and a beautiful lady with a strange hairdo. Lots of action and little complexity, conveyed through a barrage of special effects and lots of platforms on which the good and the evil guys can jump about.

Change a few names, have different spaceships, minor changes to the plotline, and this would've made a truly excellent Star Wars Episode 1; much better than the monstrosity that George Lucas came up with.

But it ain't Star Trek. There's no "what if". There's no thinking, no alien cultures. Just action. Just childish joy at breaking things. Nothing adult or difficult; nothing that compares to the best Star Trek episodes (of all the series).

OK, maybe I'm old. Maybe this is exactly how the old trekkies felt when Star Trek - The Next Generation appeared. And I remember the cries of foul play when people learned that there was going to be a remake of Battlestar Galactica, and Starbuck was going to be a woman!

But there was a difference: the new BSG series was actually really good. It really showed something different, something that very few series had done before. It challenged people with non-trivialized plotlines and did evil things to main characters that we loved. The new Star Trek isn't better than the original. It's a superimposition of Star Wars on top of the Star Trek universe. There is nothing new in it. Everything has been seen before, in other surroundings.

To summarize: the new Trek movie is a nice action flick with lots of in-references and jokes thrown in for the fans. But it's a movie with little power. Someone could make a great TV series based on it, but any movie sequels I'm probably going to skip.

(Update: Ha! "The writers have said their goal is for the film to appeal not just to Trek fans, but to new audiences as well. They hoped to bring the feel of the original Star Wars trilogy into the movie, since Abrams has often said he's more a fan of Star Wars than Star Trek.")


Maybe you're old :)

--pni, 10-May-2009

Your description of the movie feels right to me. Still: I'm such a simpleton I'd no problems with seeing an enjoyable generic scifi flick instead of a bad Trek film.

Mind you, I've only seen a few eps of the various series, so I might've been optimal audience for the new film. Familiar with the people and the places but not very attached to them.

--OlliS, 10-May-2009

Just to make sure - I did enjoy the film. It was very funny and entertaining.

However, it was, in the end, completely irrelevant. And I'm not used to Star Trek being irrelevant.

--JanneJalkanen, 10-May-2009

And the problem isn't with people and places and how they're treated. I found Karl Urban as Bones to be the perfect match for young Deforest Kelley. It goes far, far deeper than that.

It was just another enjoyable Scifi flick. Nothing wrong with that.

But my life won't have any impact at all as a result of me seeing it. Which makes it... irrelevant for the lack of a better word. And this bothers me, that is all.

(And here's the rub - in today's polarized world, this kind of a movie is difficult to talk about, because now you've really have no idea whether I really liked it or not; and many of you reading this don't have the slightest clue as to what I'm talking about, since you probably enjoyed the film and didn't give it a second thought, and you figure that I'm an old grumpy guy who just doesn't like his startrek to be "vandalized" and leave it at that, no matter how much I say I liked the movie.

Perhaps my issue isn't with this movie in particular, but because of the fact that I sacrificed several hours of family time in order to see an irrelevant movie - a movie which really could've been meaningful in some sense - and I'm just pissed off at seeing potential being squandered.)

--JanneJalkanen, 10-May-2009

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